Literary Devices Literary Devices    

Lesson 22: Foreshadowing: I Have a Rendezvous with Death

by Alan Seeger

Performer: Librivox - Ian King

I have a rendezvous with Death

At some disputed barricade,

When Spring comes back with rustling shade

And apple-blossoms fill the air—

I have a rendezvous with Death

When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand

And lead me into his dark land

And close my eyes and quench my breath—

It may be I shall pass him still.

I have a rendezvous with Death

On some scarred slope of battered hill,

When Spring comes round again this year

And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep

Pillowed in silk and scented down,

Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,

Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,

Where hushed awakenings are dear...

But I've a rendezvous with Death

At midnight in some flaming town,

When Spring trips north again this year,

And I to my pledged word am true,

I shall not fail that rendezvous.

    Literary Devices Literary Devices    

Lesson 22: Foreshadowing: I Have a Rendezvous with Death

by Alan Seeger

Performer: Librivox - Ian King


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the poem.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poet.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


Moved by idealism, American Alan Seeger volunteered to fight in World War I for the Foreign Legion of France. America had not yet entered the war. Seeger's poem, 'I Have a Rendezvous with Death,' foreshadows his death in battle. He imagines dying during the following spring on a battle-scarred hill in a burning town at midnight. Seeger's predictions partly came true. He died at the young age of 28 on the 4th of July while fighting in World War I. While Seeger was dying, others reported that he cheered on his fellow soldiers to the very end.


Poets often use literary devices, defined as 'rules of thumb, convention, or structure that are employed in literature and storytelling.'

The nine literary devices we'll study include:

  1. Rhyming
  2. Alliteration
  3. Similes
  4. Metaphors
  5. Personification
  6. Foreshadowing
  7. Allusion
  8. Hyperbole
  9. Onomatopoeia

Foreshadowing is a literary device whereby an author drops hints or symbolic representations of plot developments to come later in the story.


Activity 1: Recite Poem Information

Recite the title of the poem and the name of the poet.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem. How does the image differ from the poem?

Activity 3: Recite the Poem

Practice reciting the poem aloud.

Activity 4: Identify Foreshadowing in the Examples

Read aloud the examples below and predict the future event being foreshadowed.

  • The rickety old house leaned precariously to one side. One strong push could collapse the whole thing.
  • The red-faced, sweaty man struggled to climb up the hill. 'I gotta bad heart,' he said to me. 'One day, one of these hot days are gonna finish me off.'
  • 'Larry, don't forget to wear your helmet,' Larry's mother called out. Larry whizzed away on his bike, pretending not to hear her.
  • The hair stood up on his arms, and goosebumps broke out over his skin.
  • The town bell started clanging. At first Ben thought it was ringing in the hour, but it was six o'clock and the bell didn't stop at six.

Activity 5: Identify the Rhyme Scheme

Review the poem and identify the pattern of its rhyming scheme. (e.g. ABBACDCD, etc.)

Activity 6: Identify Alliteration

Review the poem and point out any instances of alliteration.

Activity 7: Identify Personified Object(s)

Review the poem excerpts and identify anything personified.

Activity 8: Identify Foreshadowing

Review the poem excerpts. How do they foreshadow the future?

  • I have a rendezvous with Death
  • I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Activity 9: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete pages 67-69 of 'Elementary Poetry 5: Literary Devices.'


  1. 'Foreshadowing.' Wikipedia. n.p.